Tuggeranong Valley Building a Welcoming and Elite women’s program

Above: TVAFC 1st Grade Womens Captain Kate Greenacre pictured with TVAFC 1st Grade Womens Coach and Club President Leo Lahey.   Photo: Lachlan Bryce


Tuggeranong Valley Building a Welcoming and Elite women’s program

By Lachlan Bryce


Tuggeranong Valley’s President Leo Lahey wants the women’s programs performance to be a reflection of the environment around it.

Rather than focusing on creating a top tier program out of the gates, Lahey wishes to create a balance between a healthy safe environment and to allow for elite players to excel in the program.


“In the end, I don’t care if they play AFLW at the highest level or not. I care about when they come to training, they feel valued and they feel like they are a part of something and that something is something positive in their life,” Lahey stated.


“We want an environment where our high-end performers can feel like they can be developed and achieve at their best level, and I want an environment where a player who has never played before who is anxious and unsure about footy becomes comfortable and becomes confident and learns and enjoys it. When they finish the year, I want them to want more.”


Lahey has started making the needed improvements to put the club’s women’s program in that elite conversation, after bringing in multiple coaching members to create that enriching, safe and developing environment.


Coaches such as Heather Flannery who coached in Cairns, Victoria and the AFLW Defence side. Damien Bowles who in previous years won multiple premierships with Ainslie and was a part of the Valley’s First-grade side in 2020, and Steve Donlan who has a rich history of being a quality football developer for all ages.


These coaches will come on board to follow Lahey and the club’s testament, to make an elite environment first and soon after an elite program.


In 2018 there was only one women’s side, in 2019 there was two, in 2020 when the combining of the three junior sides and one senior team happened no new senior women’s players were brought into the club. Yet for the first time in 4 years, the Tuggeranong Valley have a Rising Stars side that is filled with promising talent.


“The outcome of the amalgamation as it articulates to senior football is now there is a pathway,” Lahey said.


“A very good example is that in the under 12’s girls grand final last year, there were two teams as there are normally, and they were both Tuggeranong teams. So, you have 45/50 girls all playing footy who now have a pathway through to senior football in the valley.”


Being around the club it is clear to Leo Lahey that the Valley is an accumulation of two groups, an equal share across the two football programs.


After an impressive debut season for the Amalgamated side, Leo stated the only thing he’d change from the inaugural season was to not have an epidemic run throughout the season.


“We had no right to have such a good season. Everything was against us. But it demonstrated the strength of the community that we’re from.”


Lahey praised the community volunteers’ effort and the players for being the driving force behind getting the club through a turbulent and disorientating year.


Lahey will look to build on the foundations put in place in the 2020 debut season and push forward to his goal of a welcoming and elite program for both groups.